Gi tails

This is the universal hand signal for GO AWAY! (Holds handgun in firing position.)

(Pic- that’s John on the right, who also got his purple yesterday)

WIP: After not getting anything concrete done on this for a while, I wrote part of a very intense scene this morning. I woke up pre-dawn after sleeping only a few hours, and the scene was just eating my brain…. to the point that I could not go back to sleep- I had to get up and purge it out onto the laptop. It’s going to need a ton of revision, because this scene is a collage of a jillion aspects of the story that I want to tie in here… but I got a nice backbone down now. It’s intense. I hope it’s not too overrwrought. I’m struggling a little with the line between intense and overrwrought. I don’t think it’s going to be overrwought in context, but taken as a stand-alone snippet, it’s probably Way Too Much. Which is unfortunate, because I’m itching to get some kind of excerpt down that would be appropriate to show one of my experienced writer contacts (who has already kindly offered more than once to look at something for me).

It’s been an eggy few days. I want to cut my soda consumption down a bit, too, but right now I’m primarily wrestling with a constant, mindless, consuming (heh) desire to snack.

I decided to fleece my (soon-to-be-former) employer’s health insurance to get the repeat allergy scratch tests before I lose my insurance at the end of Dec. I’m still experiencing mucho congestion on the $120-per-bottle prescription inhaler. If I get really pumped, I might try to get to the eye doc too.

Thursday lunchtime BJJ at GB Seattle. Starting off with that annoying invisible guy standing behind me with the electric drill between my shoulderblades again. I hate him. On the upside- it does need to get to a certain threshold of pain before whatever it is that I’m doing to trigger it starts to feel really excrutiating. I guess I’m not quite there yet, but maybe soon I can pinpoint the precise culprit.

All rollin’, all the time. I had a suspicion that something was up when Carlos put me with several jumbo-sized purple and high blue belt guys that he usually doesn’t put me with, because those particular guys are not good at modifying their Hulk Factor. I survived. I didn’t sub any of them, but none of them subbed me either- and furthermore I didn’t spend the entire class lying on the bottom like a smashed cockroach. I didn’t take any breaks. One of the Hulky high blues clocked me in the temple with his elbow. I have a huge goose egg there now. The prof reprimanded him for putting his weight down on me while I was curled up under his groin, but I was actually okay there because my legs were loaded between us. I did not let him front or side mount me. Bottom side control would quite possibly have been lethal for me with that dude.

I also rolled with a white belt that I’ve never seen before, who gave me more of a challenge than anyone else on the mat today- all those big colored belts notwithstanding. This white belt has otherwordly open guard skills. I must have charged him eight times, and after the first three, I did it with the mindset of "Now DON’T let him catch you in THAT again," yet he ended up trapping me in the same open guard position every damn time. He was good!

And then… yeah. As I said in the previous post. I’m not really freaking out yet because I’m still in too much shock. John got promoted to purple today as well. It was nice to share it with a good teammate. Carlos hinted that there would be some more promotions tonight, which makes me want to go in… and stay all the way through advanced class….. I’d really like to see Ben and Ron get promoted to purple, and if Ben at least doesn’t get promoted tonight, I’m an aardvark. But whew, I’m tired- he made me work for it today- and my thumped melon aches. Plus, stepping out on the mat in front of all those people, like that…. eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee.


Ok, so I made basics and study hall, but bailed before advanced. By the end of basics, my brain was feeling kinda full, and after study hall it was ready to explode. Too bad, because my body actually felt up to another 90 min (ignoring the guy with the drill, and the goose egg (which really only hurts if I touch it… or try to brush my hair)). The competition class that used to be in this time slot wiped out my body; study hall wipes out my brain. But study hall is my favorite class. I can tell that Carlos really gets off on teaching it, too.

Basics: I drilled with a nice fellow who was visiting from the Federal Way branch. We did baseball bat chokes from side control, using the gi tail. Does this *get* any better? I love playing with gi tails (even if I haven’t yet been able to do much live), and I am lately so intrigued with baseball bat chokes.

You are in top side control. Tease opponent’s far bottom gi tail out and pull it up behind hir shoulder. Pass it to your other hand- the one behind opponent’s head. Your palm is to the mat. Don’t pull the gi tail too far behind opponent’s head/shoulder- you need to leave room for the second grip. Double check to make sure you have hir near arm controlled and everything nice & tight.

Now, Slide your other hand in PALM UP to grab the gi tail just under your first grip. Move your body up toward the back of hir head, and choke-a-palooza. The first couple reps, I mistakenly grabbed a lapel grip for my second grip- it worked just as well.

Next: opponent keeps elbow glued to ribs so that you can’t get the gi tail under. Wrap that puppy OVER the arm like a sling. Pass the grip exactly as before. Again, double check your control of the near arm and make sure everything is tight. Now use 2nd hand to post on the mat, and slide your knee (the one nearest opponent’s feet) onto belly. Now secure the second grip exactly as before. Hop backward a titch with your posting leg, enough to give you room/angle to slide your KOB over the shoulder, spin and kneel behind opponent’s head (facing hir feet). I was able to choke easily from here, but if it isn’t good yet, you can post your head on the mat beside opponent’s bicep (on the side that you DON’T have the gi tail trapped).

If you sling-wrap the arm but the opponent manages to work it out, slide your own arm though the hole, place it across opponent’s throat, and scissor the forearms to choke.

Study hall: triangle practice. Hip the heck up. Failing to hip up properly is a common error. I told Lindsey that I think we small females have an edge here, because we *HAVE* to hip up from the very first- otherwise we can’t reach! I also gave Lindsey good advice on push/pull violently with opponent’s hands as you hip up (thanks Cindy).

Carlos showed us that if opponent tries to turn the trapped arm down and hide it behind your thigh, you have only to hip up and then you can slide your own arm down your buttcheek and scoop that hand right out. I was happy that I knew the answer before he told us- but I didn’t know the scoop method. I have grabbed the sleeve cuff and yanked at it, which doesn’t always work with strong guys.

Note also- do not turn the body too much. You must have the *LEG* turned, but Carlos’ body stays mostly square. I may be turning the body a titch too much.

2nd half: sweeps from bottom turtle (Today has been a really good day for me!). That one I like. I’m not going to transcribe it all again, because I did that very recently (and I’m getting tired of typing tonight; this has already been a long entry!) Refinements that I did not catch before: Post the head more diagonal than I have been doing. Also: as you roll, keep the hips OFF the mat. This allows you to stick your weight on the opponent better and transition to side mount easier.

The other one: Again, I’ve transcribed this technique fairly recently. Opposite orientation: for this one you trap the arm nearest the opponent and stick up the diagonal leg furthest from hir. Thrust hir to the ground. Throw your body over hir, END FACING THE FEET (oops, forgot that part the first rep). Hug thighs. Move to side control.

Bonus: You are in turtle and your opponent is hunched over you on the side, with hir NEAR fist in your far collar (wrist under your throat). Wrap your arm around hir elbow, Turn your SHOULDER toward it, and try to join your hands. Wristlock on hir gripping hand, and just to be even more evil, s/he can’t pull the damn thing out. This was *only* working well for me on one side- the side that puts opponent’s fist at my right jaw.

It looked like a small class gearing up for advanced tonight. I didn’t see Ben or Ron come in before I left. I’m pretty sure Lance was going to get promoted, by the way Carlos (and then Casey) oh-so-casually asked him during study hall if he intended to stick around for advanced. Tall Dave was also looking like he might be about to take on a slightly azure haze. I would have liked to see that, but not bad enough to try to do the advanced class tonight.

Oh, Lindsey mentioned that Sonia is no longer at GB. So that leaves Bree at 4 stripe blue, Kelly at 3 stripe blue, and a few lower women blues. Still good, but a bummer to lose another almost-purple female.

The return of Jalen

Sheep can be controlled by the sheepdog for the same reason they fear the wolf — they are both predators. The same relationships hold with the general population, the police, and the criminals. Most people are sheep, but you don’t have to be. If you have the skills and attitude of a predator the criminals will leave you alone — because they will recognize you as a predator and there is easier game available. -Greg Hamilton

Evening gi class at Sleeper Athletics.

Jalen’s back, now that football season is over. He’s stronger, taller, and his feet are bigger than mine. The balance of power has shifted. I can no longer muscle him. He muscles me. He also has a younger brother in the kids’ class. Lord help us all. Jalen Junior. I wonder how long before THAT one starts coming to the adult class and kicking my butt all over the mat.

You are in opponent’s closed guard. Make "L" hands and stick them in opponent’s armpits. Place forehead on opponent’t belly button. Stand up. Crouch back down, with one knee up in opponent’s crotch. Hands come down to hips. Break guard, slide through on the side OPPOSITE the side you have the knee up on. Side control. Opponent pushes at your neck/face. You shove elbow past and press your head on opponent’s shoulder, so that s/he now has one arm trapped across hir own face. Make sure the arm that you haev under the head is DEEP… crawl fingers along mat to pull it deeper if you can. Jump over. You must have your body on the same side that the arm is trapped (for some reason, I have a lot of trouble retaining this particular detail). Choke with arms in "rear naked" style, or gable grip "short choke" style, or "talking on your phone" style. You can tiptoe towards opponent’s head, or you can sit through to scarf.

You are in opponent’s closed guard. One hand on belly button, one hand just above knee. Break guard. Oponent shoves hir other knee across your chest, scissor-sweep style. You push your arm between hir knees and overhook the head with your other arm. You can gable grip your hands together, or you can grab the lapel with your between-the-knees hand and chinstrap the guy with your other hand. Squeeze opponent into fetal position. sprawl, tiptoe around, throw opponent’s leg away and pass. Do not let go of the head until you are fully past and have thrown the leg away.

Spars with Cindy, Jalen, Lamont, and Eric. Everybody smeared me tonight except Eric, who is usually nice and goes pretty light and lets me have a few chokes.

Jalen triangled the shadoobies out of me from a setup that I have never seen before- and I didn’t exactly see it *THIS* time, either, because he was so goddamn quick that I was gagging in his triangle before I knew what had hit me. I remembered well enough to stay the heck away from his legs, but it’s harder now, because he’s strong enough to just shove me down there where he wants me. I also did some standup with him, which did not go very well for me either.

I had Lamont right after I got tooled by Cindy (who has injured her knee again, yet still had no problem tooling me). Lamont deliberately pushes all my buttons to make me frustrated- and the more we work together, the better he gets at mapping out said buttons. I was trapped under his side control and mount for lengthy periods, and he was being really tight- yet he will not tolerate me to lie there and wait for him to make a move before I try to get out. He subbed me a whole bunch of times, and I got very frustrated. I really wanted to bail after I got done with him, but I made myself do the one last match with Eric.

I told Cindy I’d be back on Monday. My last day as a productive employed member of society is Saturday night/Sunday morning. My two-month-plus "Jobless Jiu Jitsu Camp" begins Monday morning.

Rock the pink

Perfect is the enemy of good. – Voltaire

Wednesday lunchtime BJJ at Gracie Seattle.

Standup: Opponent front-chokes you. You place both hands palm-down at your waist to defend the kick, and swim your head down and around out of the choke. Jab with whichever hand is on the same side as the foot you have nearest hir. Change level. Step in and clinch around waist. One ofyour feet shoud be between hirs, and you should pull hir into you with the clinch so that hir back bows a bit and hir balance is compromised. Inside reap. End in hir closed guard.

You are in bottom side control. Frame up with arms and get enough space to swim JUST your top forearm (the one closest to opponent’s head) under hir armpit. Do not move the elbow- keep it braced there. Turn your hips down to the mat. Get up on knees. Now you are in turtle with opponent sprawled on top of you NS, and you are holding the backs of hir thighs. Step out with the outside foot on the side that your head is on. Scoot fwd a bit so that your other knee is against hir knee. PUSH (use shoulder and entire body) and then lift. Do not cheat the push. If you do it right, opponent will be unable to catch you in half guard before you descend upon hir in top side control.

I have always struggled with this one. I have trouble framing up and getting any space in bottom side control if my opponent is resisting even a little. I’m clumsy getting my hips downward to the mat, and I’m scared of getting flattened out on my belly while I’m trying to do that step. Bryan thinks this could be a really good technique for me because of my compactness. It seems likely that the largest part of my struggle here is mental.

We drilled this to exhaustion, and there was so much head-squeezing that I lost my cap. Carlos came over and asked, "Who are you?" "I’m new."

I really would have liked to stay for sparring today, especially since Z was there and I haven’t had a chance to play with him in forever. However, I began the class with a headache, and it was still there at the end- so I decided I’d better just go home and take some aspirin so that hopefully I’d be fit to do a second class tonight.

I started a poll on Jiu Jitsu Forums: You have a laundry accident before a big comp. All your gi’s are pink. Do you A)rock the pink, or B)drop out of the tourney? Male respondents only. I’m tickled- well, pink- by the results so far. 34 respondants, and all would "rock the pink"! Cool, huh?


Pic: this is Ron in the front and Pat in the back.

This is not me….. I don’t even know this guy, I swear…. but it cracked me up….

Friday lunchtime BJJ at GB Seattle.

All spars. Lindsey, a white belt woman, and then all the rest were purple and brown belts (survival time). With the white belt, I told her to get her chin down more and to turn to me and shrimp to escape the KOB- then I spent the rest of the roll repeatedly trying to choke her and get KOB until she started reacting quicker. (I am raising up an entire generation of white belts who are gonna have their chins glued to their chests, and will turn into Mexican jumping beans the second you try to slide a knee in…)

I got a sweep on Lindsey… it was sloppy, and I don’t think it was a proper "technique", and it wouldn’t have suceeded if she wasn’t so small- yet I was really excited about it BECAUSE: I made the decision to sweep her, I analyzed where her weight was and which direction she was exerting force towards, I looked at her posts, chose where to put her, and did it. That type of brain-engaged cold analysis- especially live- is something I am very poor at and really want to get better at. Thus this was a progress flag.

I have decided that since I’m laid off anyway- and I never take any time off- I’m going to just take December and January to do nothing but train and write. I’m also going to try to offload the extra weight I’ve put on (hopefully doing a gazillion classes will help with that).

No-gi at Sleeper Athletics. The time of the Saturday class has been bumped up an hour- it is now 1:00, and I didn’t know (so I was late).

Just in time for two drills:

Side control: keylock, straight armbar (Cindy suggests that I turn my arm to get a higher "platform" on this), kimura, foot-over-head to another kimura (straighen that rear leg out to prevent being rolled). Then: Use the elbow closest to opponent’s feet to suck hir arm in tighter, grab your own opposite elbow with that same hand, and squeeze. (Ow!) Once again, much amusement at watching the contortions and facial expressions of those fortunate enough to be today’s demo dummies.

Standup: you’re holding each other’s elbows. "Inside" or "ouside". You want "outside", so circle around to get it. Then tip one side up, dart under opponent’s armpit. Your posture is upright (including head). The back of your head is now on opponent’s shoulder blade. Scoot around hir back to OPPOSITE side and hug. Ideally you have one of hir arms trapped. Position yourself at hir hip as if you are a dog about to hump hir leg. (And again, more amusement at Cindy’s colorful and sometimes profane yet delightfully accurate descriptives). Lift opponent’s lower half into the air and dump hir on the mat.

Sparring and cardio (now dispersed between the sparring bouts… puff, puff, puff…..). Sony has gotten so much better since I last worked with her. Chord is very difficult to fight because he is constantly moving- especially his base, switching and transitioning before you can set anything up. Fighting Cindy is… fighting Cindy! Ahhhh! She and Sony were both wearing gi pants, and I asked them to call me out if they noticed me grabbing their pants. I think I only grabbed Cindy’s pants once.

I feel so very fat today. True that this is what Julia refers to as "Shark Week", but OMG. Yesterday I was really good about what I ate, and today as well.

The subversive chocolate gi

It is a historical constant that the strong rule the weak, and any shade of liberty enjoyed by the weak is nothing more than the benevolence of the strong. You need guns because the world is full of the strong, and not all of them are benevolent. -John Fogh

There it is, the naughty nonregulation chocolate Gracie Barra gi…. along with a gal who thought she was gonna pass my guard by standing up in it.


On fiction writing:

I think of a first line as the scenery going by in the side window of my car.

I spend a lot of time in the car, and a lot of scenery passes by. Some of it is pretty, some of it is ugly, much of it is redundant and indifferent. It’s not until something catches the corner of my eye that makes me go, "???" that I’ll turn my head for a double-take.

I want the first line of my stories to have that "???" factor. I can’t garantee that you’ll like my MC, or find my scenery pretty, or be interested in the fistfight that’s going on over in the corner…. But the "???" is universal- and almost irresistable.


Sweep day

Nothing says, "Please don’t rape me." like multiple jacketed hollowpoints. -John Fogh

Carlos said to someone today, "I need to order FIVE purple belts." John immediately rounded on me with a big sheet-eating grin on his face. I was like, "No, Rickson Gracie, no…." He mentioned that a group of the other four stripe blues were brainstorming on how to try to avoid promotion. "Stop showing up" of course is the easy way, but nobody likes that one. The other sure shot is "Ask the prof, "When am I going to get my purple belt?"".

The attitude shift at blue belt amuses me. Most people are dying to get their blue. But it’s funny how many high blue belts view purple with all the anticipatory delight with which they would view a ripe case of hemorrhoids.

I said to John, "I have never felt more clueless. I feel more clueless now than I did as a white belt. Now I fully understand the true depth and breadth of my cluelessness."

My prediction is Glenn for sure. Overdue. Ben. Ron. John himself is a probable but not certain. Same for Tom and Lance. Some of the others are good enough, but will probably be made to do a little more time (the other John, Nelson). Ritchie? Sigh. His attendance has slacked off the last few weeks. He’s gotten better as far as being a snot to work with- but I’d like to see him marinate his teamwork skills a little longer before repping this school at purple. Sonia’s been a 4-stripe blue for a while, and I know she’s been getting lots of classes in, so maybe. I haven’t worked with her for a long time, so I don’t know how she’s doing. We don’t have any women above blue right now with the exception of Angela. It would be nice to get some. Nicer still if it’s someone *not me* on the hot seat.

Lunchtime BJJ at Gracie Bellevue. I was/am so unbelieveably sore from yesterday. The primary issue is that some invisible tormenter is standing behind me boring an invisible electric drill right between my shoulderblades. But pretty much everything hurts.

Today was sweep day.

Lunchtime: butterfly sweep.

Begin with opponent in your butterfly guard, lying on your chest. Bump your hips violently and knife your forearm down your chest to place along opponent’s collarbone. Do not attempt to wedge your hand in there sideways. Which arm to use? Your hand should be on the side that opponent’s nose is on.

Press opponent’s chest up, sit up, scoot butt back. Do not sit flat on your butt- you should be on one cheek with the other knee up. I found myself wedging my knee against the opponent’s chest to make sure he stayed off me.

Keep elbow glued in place- move forearm only to get the underhook and hug the opponent. Grab hir other sleeve to prevent the post. Sweep. If done correctly, the opponent ends up beneath you with one arm crossed over hir own throat, which is lovely (for you).

Drills, positional training. John left me a ton of little circular fingerprint bruises on the insides of my biceps. He was straining and straining to get a sweep on me at one point, and I said, "Hold on a sec. Where is my weight?" He paused a moment, evaluating, and then changed the direction of his efforts- launching me over his head using mostly my own energy to reverse myself. I caught air. He was impressed.

I spent the time between classes soaking in a hot epsom salt bath.

Basics: flower sweep (why on earth is it called that??).

Opponent is in your closed guard. Use both hands to grab one sleeve cuff and pull hir fwd with your legs. At first I was yanking the opponent as far as I could diagonally (that’s kind of how Adrian was demo’ing it), and that was totally not working with my puny body. The arm was now blocking me from getting at the leg (third stepof the technique). It took a lot of experimentation to figure out how to modify. Much less pulling, put opponent on my chest as if s/he’s a baby I’m going to rock to sleep.

Reach over hir shoulder on the side that you stretched the arm. Adrian was grabbing under the opposite armpit. Another snag for me. Even on my moderately-sized partner, it was difficult to reach.More experimentation. Hugging around his neck worked. Yank the side of hir head down on your chest.

Curl up and underhook the leg. Scoot butt around and sweep.

Rotating spars with everyone. Gavin is totally turning into a bucking bronco the moment he feels my knee sneaking in for a KOB. He never lets me get it any more. I’m so proud. The Indian blue belt whose name I can’t pronounce (it has seventeen letters- no kidding, I counted on his attendance card) has great choke defense. I worked really hard for most of the roll trying to get a choke. Just when I had managed to sneak the second arm in and thought "Hallelujah, I think I have it," the buzzer sounded just as I was trying to adjust for the final squeeze.

Study Hall: I was starting to drag. We worked on a basic guard break and pass, and a leg-underhooking sweep from deep half guard.

Here a choke, there a choke

An armed man will kill an unarmed man with monotonous regularity.

Wednesday evening gi at Sleeper. I usually wear the "baby blanket pink" gi when I have a gi class here, because this is the only place I *can* wear it…. the patches are already fraying on my patched-out GB gi’s (dammit), so I want to stretch as much life out of those as I possibly can. But the baby blanket gi- it is a definite handicap due to being too big. I feel like the lapels stretch all the way across the country and invite BJJ’ers from Connecticut to grab them and haul me around with them. The sleeves are a good length, though, so I daren’t try to shrink it.

Opponent is in your guard. Grab cross sleeve cuff and work opponent’s lapel tail out on that side (lucky Lamont, he had miles of fabric to work with!). Pull the cuff across your chest and yank the lapel tail BACK (this is a pushing motion). Switch grips, twist the lapel tail and pin your elbow to your side. Trap opponent’s hand with your elbow as well.

Use your free hand to grab around hir head and pull head down to your chest. Opponent should be in the position of "whispering in your ear". Wrap lapel tail around the back of hir neck. Open guard and jump hips up to trap one shoulder. Turn and bring leg around. You can choke with the lapel tail, but it seems that the better subs are the four different armbars from that position (!)

Same setup, but opponent swims the arm back out as you try to trap it with your elbow. Let it go and lasso the neck with the lapel tail. Don’t make it as tight as before- and as you wrap it, stick your hand in there so that as you pull, you can scissor (As in Snake Versus Five Animals) and get a choke that way. The only thing that could make this more awesome was that if the opponent manages to duck out, you can wrap the opposite way and do the same thing. So we drilled with the opponent ducking out repeatedly… choke right, choke left, choke right, choke left, here a choke, there a choke, everywhere a choke-choke. This is the coolest choke ever. I could do it like a rock star right away because of the Kung-Fu-like scissoring motion, although I’m a bit concerned that the setup may elude me live on the field.

Rolls with Lamont, Terry, Cindy and Chord. I wasn’t doing that great tonight, although I did (FINALLY!) get a tap with the baseball bat choke (with lapel) on Chord (upon which we had to pause and rhapsodize a bit on the beauty and lyricism of baseball bat chokes in general… he’s the one who was putting the no-gi variation on me last week). I got some KOB, front mount, and several guard passes on Terry, but he kept tapping me repeatedly with leg attacks (which I am still completely inadequate at defending). Ended up doing a little standup with Cindy… that’ll always get your heart revving, ha ha. I was getting tired and less effective by the time I got to Chord. He did get a tap on me as well(I can’t recall with what).

In general, I am feeling somewhat less helpless on the bottom- I am feeling more like I can reasonably expect to get out the majority of the time, and am also less dependant upon waiting for the opponent to set up a sub before I try. Yet I am still using a bit too much energy and muscling to accomplish it- and am still stalling out at times under side control, front mount, and (especially) scarf (Rickson Gracie I HATE scarf!!!!!!).

Chokes tonight combined with chokes this morning left me feeling neck-sore and slightly vomitous. I had been fortunate to have good drill partners (this is really important when working chokes!) in Glenn and Lamont, but the downside is that when they choke you, you **KNOW** you have been choked. Had to ask housemate to Tiger Balm the back of my neck when I got home.

Thumb down

Monday FOD: Tai Chi short form

Wednesday Lunchtime BJJ at Seattle GB. I missed the warmups because I got caught by that dang train again.

From standup: judo grips, step on hip (on the side that you have the SLEEVE grip), drop to butt, swing leg out, swing it back and use that foot to wipe off opponent’s grip on that side. Pull opponent into closed guard. Do not let go of grips throughout.

Now: Deep cross collar grip, Tricep grip, hip out (not too far; I tend to want to go TOO far), scissor sweep. Glenn suggests that I need to pay better attention to keeping my bottom leg on the mat and actually using it to scissor (I tend toward a "half scissor" of sorts). I think I need to open my legs wider, because when I tried to employ his advice, I became anxious that I was turning too much and exposing my back. Also, if you drop that leg to the mat too soon, the opponent can hop over it and pass.

Okay, you’ve completed the scissor sweep and are now front mounted. Carlos did an imitation of my front mount, and it was pretty funny. He looked just like a road kill frog. I am spreading my knees out too far, and laying the insides of my feet on the mat. Cindy has reprimanded me for this in the past also. I know why I’m doing it: When on top, I desperately want to remain untangled and mobile, because it seems like as soon as I commit to getting bound up with the opponent, s/he overturns me either with a legit sweep or just muscling. Carlos had his demo partner bridge repeatedly, while he demonstrated spreading out and then sucking back in, taking up more space every time- even pinning the guy on the side of his shoulder eventually. I’ll have to experiment with that, although at this point I’m still pretty skeptical that I can defend the roll.

Anyway, you have maintained your deep cross collar grip that you grabbed when you set up the sweep. On the opponent’s second bridge, you grab a second deep cross collar grip- THUMB DOWN. Choke.

Immediate impression…. I have a bad habit of trying to slide my second hand in palm up. Carlos explains that this is good from the bottom but not from the top. Thumb down, thumb down, thumb down (knocking on forehead with fist). It’s a bit difficult to slide that hand in there, especially while the opponent is bucking. Carlos suggests that you can stick your thumb in the lapel at the chest and slide it up to where it needs to go. He showed us a similar slide (with the finger) a few weeks ago. I would like to employ these; I think it will be easier to sneak in that way before the opponent can get a hand up there because s/he sees your hand going for hir face. Once you get that second hand in there, the choke happens pretty quickly, with lots of room to spare. It hurts, too…. I have a headache now from the knuckles pressing on the right-side base of my skull.

Some positional drilling from the scissor sweep, then one 5-min roll with Glenn. I love Glenn, but when you’re working with him, you are going to have a "nail" day. (As in, "sometimes you’re the hammer and sometimes you’re the nail…")

Funny (pathetic?) misspellings of the week that I have run across on Fanfic Archive: A sad character seeking "solstice", and a sex scene that mentioned someone’s ear as an "endogenous zone".


Saturday no-gi at Sleeper. Once again I skipped lunchtime class at Gracie’s, which is sad (and I miss Rodrigo… I never see him any more), but it really is improving my performance at Sleeper when I’m not dragging my exhausted ass in there after doing a session at GB first. Lamont noticed too- commented that I was "moving well".

They were working some rather complex kimura mutations with multiple grip changes that were out of my league. I managed to perform the techniques after being walked through them a billion times, but I think live application of these babies is going to have to wait a few more years for me.

While Terry was distracted with something else and Cindy was doing a demo on me, I could not suppress a a pained "GUHHHH-UH!!" That got Terry’s attention, and he came over and demanded to be taught whatever had the power to produce that noise.

Rolls with everyone. As usual, no-gi is a step up on the "challenge" meter for me. I got frustrated once, with Terry, and stalled out in scarf. "You giving up?" "Sorta."

I got a number of different chokes on different people today. I seemed to be setting them up a little quicker (which is an improvement that I need to keep working on). Note that one guy was using a no-collar baseball bat (again, gable gripped hands) that was intriguing to me. I was able to defend the actual choke (I have good choke defense skills), but I had to tap to it once just because it was grinding on a nerve point at the base of my skull.

They are urging me to use "short choke" which apparently is a forearm choke with gable-gripped hands. I seem to be using it successfully at times without being aware of such, whereas when I try the RNC I often either 1)can’t finish or 2)get my arm grabbed.

Cindy also suggests that instead of hanging off the backs of people’s butts as I tend to do when they’re turtled, I should try going hip to hip and placing my far hand on HIR hip. Controlling the hips/rear may work out better than getting bucked off, setting in hooks that are immobilizing me, or wrapping an arm in that’s going to get me rolled. Note that when I am attempting to control the hips like that, I should be poised squatting on the toes.

I am noticing that I am seeing omoplata opportunities lately. I have been trying for few and getting even fewer- but the fact that I am noticing them is intriguing. One of my most crippling weaknesses is that I fail to observe where the opponent is vulnerable to specific subs- recognizing and snatching the offered opportunities. I want to get better at that.

More self defence

When seconds count, the cops are just minutes away.

Lunchtime BJJ at GB Sea. My eyes were a little irritated from my contacts, so I had to wear my glasses to see the drills and then take them off to perform. It was a real PITA.

The prof and a white belt guy used me for a practice dummy to work Del a Riva sweeps before class. Then Steve came in and walked around shaking everyone’s hand on the mat. When he got to me, he seemed to be bracing himself. I can’t imagine why. Certainly not because I would use the handshake to yank myself into Del a Riva guard and try to take him down, then cross collar choke him from guard. When he didn’t tap to the choke, I sit-up swept him and counted points for mount.

More "self defense" today.

Same standing front straight-arm choke defense as yesterday (with throw and kimura lock). I was fortunate enough to drill with Steve, who also complimented my throws. I was putting him down harder than I had put Lindsey down… not because I like him less, but because he’s a purple belt and I figure he can take it. big grin

Next: opponent is in your guard, and stands up in preparation for squatting to punch you in the face. You open guard and slide down the legs, staying close and up on your shoulders. Feet on hir hips. Brace one foot and use the other to punch straight up into the chin. Both feet back on hips, shove hir away. When s/he comes back, Lean on elbow and technical lift-kick to just below knee. Rise up on hand and do it again, to just above knee. I had trouble remembering to stay on the elbow for the first one… but when I failed to do so, I had no range left for #2.

Then: opponent is in your closed guard, punching at your face. You parry two punches, gripping the wrists (not the gi sleeves) lightly and letting the fists continue to your cross ears. On punch #3, you yank a little harder and stuff the other hand. Triangle.

Steve and I had good feedback exchange. He noted that my triangles sucked on my bad side (my wording, not his), and it took us a little back and forth before we finally figured out that I wasn’t hipping up high enough on my awkward side. For his weak side triangle, I noted that his body was too straight to mine and that he should probably be more diagonal. As soon as he adjusted that, the choke made my eyes feel like they were bugging out of my head… much tighter.

I always go out of my way to be verbally appreciative of my favorite drilling partners, so I made sure to take time at the end of class to tell him how much I value his input.